Legislative Update: January 24, 2013

House Subcommittee Approves HB 1442
SB 812 “Passed by” for the Day

Next Hearing Expected Monday, 1/28 at 9a.m.

By Amy Wilson, VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs Director

Today was a busy day in the General Assembly for the VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs team! Director of Government Affairs Amy Wilson, Vice President Leslie Nathaniel, and our lobbyist Scott Price attended hearings for homeschool sports access bills on both the House and Senate sides of the General Assembly beginning at 7:30 AM. We were proud to introduce to legislators our two young Legislative Interns, Sydney Bowman (age 12) and Micah Fitz (age 14), who testified about why sports access matters to them.

House Subcommittee Votes 7-1 to Approve Sports Access Bill

HB 1442, patroned by Del. Robert Bell (R-Albemarle), addresses public school sports and interscholastic activities access for homeschooled high school students. The House Education Subcommittee on Students and Early Education amended the bill to include a sunset provision which would discontinue the provisions of the bill in June 2018 unless further action is taken.  HB 1442, as amended, passed the subcommittee by a vote of 7-1 (as compared with a vote of 6-2 for a similar bill in 2012).

The Votes

Voting in favor of HB 1442 were subcommittee chair Del. Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) and Delegates Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave), Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield), Joseph Yost (R-Blacksburg), Joe Morrissey (D-Highland Springs), and Daun Hester (D-Norfolk).  Delegate Mark Keam (D-Vienna) voted against the bill.

Senate Committee Did Not Consider Companion Bill

On the Senate side, SB 812, a companion bill to HB 1442, patroned by Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg), was on the docket for the Senate Education and Health Committee this morning at 8 o’clock. In a strategic move to try to ensure the bill’s success, Sen. Garrett requested that the bill be “passed by” for the day. The hope is that a little extra time may help the patron and the bill’s supporters (including homeschooling constituents) to convince enough senators on the committee to vote in favor of SB 812. Last year’s sports access bill (HB 947) failed by a single vote in this same committee.

What Happens Next

  • HB 1442 is expected to be on the docket for consideration by the full House Education committee at its next hearing this coming Monday, January 28, at 9 a.m. (possibly a bit earlier – subcommittee schedules can shift)
  • SB 812 could be back on the Senate Education and Health Committee docket as soon as next Thursday, Jan. 31, at 8 a.m., though we have no information at this time. We will keep you informed as soon as we know the details.

In Favor of Homeschool Sports Access? We Need Your Help!

Del. Bell has asked that homeschoolers in favor of sports access do everything they can to attend the House Education Committee hearing THIS COMING MONDAY, Jan. 28 at 9 a.m.  One of the primary arguments in favor of the bill is the benefit that it could extend to homeschooled students, so an audience full of families in favor of the bill will definitely make an impression on legislators.  There will also be an opportunity for a few students to testify, though we expect testimony to be limited due to time constraints.

If your child would like to testify, please help him or her prepare a written statement about the personal impact that homeschool sports access could have. Help your child practice reading the statement with a strong, clear voice and use a timer to be sure it is no longer than one minute.

Contact Your Legislators

If you would like to express your opinion but are not able to attend the hearing, there are other options.  If your delegate is one of those on the House Education Committee, or if your senator serves on the Senate Education and Health Committee, please call or email to ask for them to support HB 1442 and SB 812. Ask your friends, neighbors and family members (homeschooling or not) to please do the same. 

Click your legislator’s name below to find email and telephone contact information. To find out who your legislator is, use the General Assembly’s “Who’s My Legislator” service.

House Education Committee Members

Del. Bob Tata (R-Virginia Beach), Chair
Del. Dickie Bell (R-Staunton)
Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax)
Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)
Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R-Stafford)
Del. Tag Greason (R-Potomac Falls)
Del. Daun Hester (D-Norfolk)
Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna)
Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Oak Hill)
Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave)
Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge)
Del. Jimmie Massie (R-Richmond)
Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)
Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Highland Springs)
Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg)
Del. Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield)
Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon)
Del. Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach)
Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-Jarratt)
Del. Onzlee Ware (D-Roanoke)
Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News)
Del. Joseph Yost (R-Blacksburg)

Senate Education and Health Committee Members

(Chairman) Sen. Stephen Martin (R-Chesterfield)
Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria)
Sen. Richard Black (R-Leesburg)
Sen. Harry Blevins (R-Chesapeake)
Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)
Sen. Thomas Garrett (R-Lynchburg)
Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)
Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton)
Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth)
Sen. Jeffrey McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News)
Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Forest)
Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk)
Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-Springfield)
Sen. Ralph Smith (R-Roanoke)

* Voted NO on homeschool sports access in 2012.


January 28 Hearing Details

When: Monday, January 28, 2013, 9 a.m. (plan to arrive 20-25 minutes to find seating)
Where: House Room C, General Assembly Building, 910 Bank Street, Richmond
What to do: Be part of a large, supportive audience demonstrating the sports access bill’s importance. We expect that some student witnesses also will be able to testify very briefly.

Please email VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs Director, Amy Wilson if you plan to attend the hearing on Monday. That way we will be able to reach you with any important information (such as last-minute schedule changes.) 

To Learn More

Visit our new Homeschool Sports Access web page! Read our position statement on the bills, peruse our press releases, find out how sports access works for homeschoolers in other states, and learn more about what VaHomeschoolers is doing to help create access for Virginia’s homeschooling students to public school sports and activities.

Contact VaHomeschoolers

If you have any questions or concerns about this legislation, or any other legislative issue, please contact VaHomeschoolers’ Director of Government Affairs, Amy Wilson.

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.

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